A former middle school educator, David Shriver is a Logistics Coordinator for Educational Tours, Inc. and has 20 years of experience in the group travel industry.
David has travelled extensively throughout Europe, as well as India, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico and 40 of 50 states in the US. He’s married and has two young children, whom he coaches in basketball and soccer. David joined ETI in late 2021 and is passionate about building life-changing itineraries for student groups. Get to know a bit more about David!
Where is your favorite destination?
My favorite country is Costa Rica. I absolutely love the Pura Vida lifestyle of the Costa Rican people and the rich diversity of nature makes this a peaceful and enjoyable trip each and every time I go. I love the people, the food, and the culture. I always feel welcomed and people are easy to meet and speak with. Seeing wildlife all around you is so unique and makes Costa Rica really special. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is my favorite attraction in Costa Rica to date. The variety of activities in one tranquil setting is amazing, and the falls are spectacular.
My favorite city on earth is Paris, hands down. There is a charm and character about Paris that I have not seen nor felt anywhere else. The city is a living museum, the museums and attractions are incredible, and the Parisian culture is truly unique and easily one to aspire to.
What’s your most treasured travel memory, or the best thing you’ve learned while traveling?
Travel changed my life in my mid-twenties. I went to England and Spain to teach ESL and my perspective forever changed. I learned the most valuable life lesson on my first journeys abroad: that all human beings are truly the same and want and desire the same things … love, respect, and kindness. Language, culture, traditions … these are all artificial barriers that come down quickly with love, respect and kindness. Travel made me a better American and a global citizen, and I got into the travel industry to help make it possible for as many students to travel to learn the valuable lesson I learned. I live by the Mark Twain quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice and bigotry.”
The most special day in my travels to date was visiting the Taj Mahal in India. Nothing has come close to being as beautiful or spectacular as the Taj Mahal. It is truly breathtaking and learning the wonderful love story behind its creation makes that much more special. I will never forget the local guide, Haji, and all that he taught me that day. This is a treasure all should see in person during their lifetime.
If you were stranded in an airport, what three things would you want with you?
My phone or iPad would be No. 1, so I could still be in touch with my precious family. Next would be a well-stocked carry-on bag, ideally with extra clothing, toiletries and a charger! Finally, I would like to have several good books, such as Team of Rivals or Judgement of Paris, two of my all-time favorite reads.
What destination on your bucket list do you most want to visit?
There are still so many to choose from, however, Prague is at the top of my list. I have longed to visit Prague and I have never heard anyone who has been there not totally love it. Barcelona is a very close second, and Egypt a close third.
What’s your favorite activity while traveling, or something you’ve always wanted to try?
My favorite activity while traveling is meeting locals and immersing myself into a local culture. It is truly wonderful to have intellectual conversations and learn different perspectives on so many things in our world and in our history. The key is being kind, open, friendly and humble. I am blessed to be an American and overseas travel reinforces that blessing each time. However, having an open mind and heart will provide you with travel experiences no one can put in a travel guide or on an itinerary. I have met amazing people, been involved in wonderful discussions and learned so much more than I ever could from books through travel.
What do you love about travel?
Travel brings me perspective and appreciation more than anything else. It reinforces my belief in the goodness and kindness of people. Seeing someone from another country or culture introducing you to their home or culture is a true joy. Their passion comes out, their pride is visible and my appreciation increases tenfold.
My most recent travels really solidified my genuine belief that travel is the best form of education and that all people should travel overseas as often as possible. I was in Tallinn, Estonia a few summers ago and took a local tour with my Finnish exchange brother I was traveling with at the time. The tour was incredible and I learned a ton, but nothing compared to learning what it meant to an Estonian to be a part of NATO and to know that they are protected from the horrible evils generations faced under the old Soviet Union. I was a believer in NATO as a historian, but I, like some in this country, often questioned the seemingly disproportionate level of contribution American tax dollars contributed. It was a fairly typical American thought process, and it all changed forever on a summer day in Tallinn. Learning of the horrors the people faced, seeing the remnants of Soviet-style architecture, and hearing the stories of our guide—who had to serve in the Soviet army during their Afghan war—my perspective completely changed. It served as a great reminder to me as to why travel is so crucial, so special and so meaningful to me. NATO to most Americans, I suspect, are four letters learned in a history class. For Estonians, it’s their safety net to ensure freedom and self-governance, ideals most Americans cherish.